Of God and His Creatures

And, possibly, the human shape, if He wishes the being of a rational animal. Or is a rational animal possible in the shape of a pig? Who shall reckon or particularise the essential connexions and repugnances of things? How much, that we might wish to cast out, cleaves to nature and must be, if natural things are to be at all! How thoughtlessly may we murmur at God for not severing two elements essentially inseparable, or not conjoining two others mutually repugnant! Is it possible under any circumstances, or under what circumstances, for man's final happiness to be secured without toil and trial, a crown without a cross?

This is not a difficult chapter, but it suggests a great difficulty: how God, willing from eternity this present creation, is perfectly the same God as He might have been from eternity willing no such thing; of how, there being not the slightest entitative difference between God willing to create and God having no such will, creation, which was nothing to begin with, ever came to be rather than not to be. The difficulty has its foundation in this, that, within our experience, every new effect involves some antecedent change either in the agent or in the matter acted upon. The more powerful the agent, the less change is required, as when a strong man with little or no effort lifts a weight, which a weaker one would have to strain himself to raise from the ground. Hence we may faintly surmise how 'in the limit' an Almighty agent would act without being in the least altered by his action from the being that he would have been, had he remained at rest. Not that I take this suggestion to remove the whole difficulty.

Of God and His Creatures: 1.83